“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

Piggy Toes and Dirty Fleece

I wish that I could introduce each and every one of you
to Ginger and MaryAnn.

Of all the animals on the farm, these two are so very special.

Of course, they are all special in their own ways...
Ginger and MaryAnn are highly intelligent and highly social.

They absolutely love human interaction.

Here is a little video that I captured yesterday afternoon.

If you listen closely, you will notice a slightly different sound that they make
when they get close to me.
Their grunting turns into a sound like "ha, ha, ha" (not laughter)
You see, I have always said "Hi, hi, hi" to them and they seem to respond with something
as close to what I am saying as they can muster.

It's their way of showing that they are happy to see me.

They actually have quite a vocabulary of sounds that they use.
This one particular sound, however, they only use when greeting us.

On the other side of the fence are the sheep.
Since losing her mother, Hope has been a lot more friendly towards me.
Yesterday, while in the pig yard, I moved over and sat next to the fence beside Hope.
Reaching through the fence, I dug my fingers into her fleece and gave her a little scratching.

She didn't move, but sat very still.
I rubbed her ears...

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We're Back....And You Didn't Know We Were Gone!

This has seriously been the strangest summer on record!
In what should be the dog days of summer, we are experiencing daytime temps in the 60's
and nighttime temps in the 50's.
Truly weird.
It's been unseasonably cool for the past week and the forecast has 
temperatures remaining in the 70's for the next week or more.

I would be remiss in not mentioning our friends in Texas and now Louisiana...
and the horrendous storm they have had to endure.
We all need to do whatever we can to help our neighbors...
be it money, thoughts or prayers.

Since you came here to talk about the farm,
let's do so...

Our animals have enjoyed this summer.
Not having to get through excessively hot days has been a blessing for them.

The sheep have already grown quite a thick fleece.
They'll be ready when cold winter winds start to blow!

Our guinea babies have been with us just shy of two weeks...
and can you believe how they have grown?

They have almost doubled in size.
They are quite athletic... and excessively flighty.
There'll be no cuddling up to any of these birds!

Wanna know a secret?
Hubbs and I snuck away for a quick four day trip to North Carolina
to visit friends (who used to be neighbors).
I wanted to show you...

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For Love, For Diets, Forever!

2017 has been the year of the diet.
Thankfully, not for us humans.
No, if you have been with us for the year you will remember that
dear Daphne and Chloe were starting to get a little portly.

Daphne has a different body type than her half sister Chloe.
Like her mother before her, Daphne carries her weight in her belly... no matter what size she is.
Chloe, on the other hand always looks svelte.

What had concerned me earlier this year was the fact that they had both built up
considerable neck rolls... a roll of fat that lies at the crest of their necks.

Sicilian donkeys such as these two are meant to graze on dry, scrubby land...
not the rich, lush grass that grows here in Pennsylvania.
And so, miniature donkeys put on weight quite easily in this terrain.

Something had to be done to prevent these two gals from developing a deadly
problem with obesity.

So... we purchased grazing muzzles and started using them every time the girls went out to pasture.
They are quite used to wearing them and are never disagreeable about them...
realizing that the muzzles are their ticket out the gate of their dry lot.

And though their neck rolls are still visible, they are much less prominent...
slowly disappearing...

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Bit and Bobs

We've been so lucky to be able to enjoy these last few days of summer...
with beautiful weather.

Sunny skies with cool temperatures has allowed us to get a lot of work done around the farm...
things from the "long list" that are hard to accomplish in the heat of summer.

Family matters took me away from the farm for most of yesterday...
and so, I have no stories to share with you...
just a few little bits and bobs.

When I arrived home (late afternoon), I quickly changed into painting clothes
and headed to the barn.
While Hubbs painted our cute little outhouse, 
I painted the cinderblock beneath this end of the barn to match the barn.

We worked until it was time to tuck the animals in for the night.
The rest of the barn should be completed today.
Meanwhile, Hubbs and I will move on to run-in sheds and chicken coops, etc.
By the time we finish, the farm will look brand-spanking new!

I am knitting once again... thanks to longer evenings.
I started a new wrap this weekend...
and as you can see, Chester is the perfect knitting companion!

I am using a 100% silk yarn in pale lavender that has a single, thin silver thread running through it.

The photo unfortunately does not do it justice.
Perhaps a...

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We Survived!!

What a spectacular weekend we had!

Fall weather is here... the nights are cold (the heat is on!)...
days reach the low 70's.
I am in heaven... this is my favorite time of year (and I love them all... but this is the very best!)

I know the animals are enjoying the chilly weather as well.

We had so much fun this weekend!
And we survived being outnumbered by grands.

Saturday morning we awoke to a beautiful sunny morning.

The moon was still high in the sky.... 
and rose again later that evening as a bright orange harvest moon.

We went to Tyler's soccer game in the morning 
and returned home with three extra Little People.

The day flew by... between changing diapers, feeding bottles...

feeding meals to Littles...

visiting the animals...

eating apples off the trees...



The day was filled from beginning to end... and the hours sped by unbelievably fast.

Tyler and his puppy Chester spent Sunday with us as well ( as well as Tyler's Mommy).
We took the dogs for a long hike in the woods...

and the old dogs taught Chester all about the woods.

You might notice that Chester has grown a little...
ok, well... his ears have grown a lot!

Have you ever seen such a little dog with such big ears?

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A Day of Adventures

What a day yesterday was!
Truly, it was a day of adventures from start to finish.
And this fellow had his share of them.

But, let's start at the beginning!
After morning chores, Dr. Becky stopped by the house.
She had some mushrooms to share with me that one of our neighbors had found in the woods.

I had never seen one of these before.
It is called Hen-of-the-woods or Ram's head mushroom.
The Japanese call it Maitake... it can grow up to 100 pounds in Japan...
earning it the name "King of mushrooms".
Grifola Frondosa.
They are native to China, Japan and North America.

I did a little research on how to find them (at the base of oak trees) in early September...
and how to identify them. 
(There are no others that look exactly like them... making them a safe mushroom for
beginner foragers.)
If you are interested in searching for these, 
there are some great websites that will help you identify them.

(Beware!  There are lots of poisonous mushrooms out there!)

Armed with plenty of information, I headed out into the woods in search of 'shrooms.
I found all sorts of varieties... and I left them right where I found them!

I assume most, if not all, were poisonous.

This one was lovely, trimmed in...

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Chicken Drama

This rainy, cool summer has benefited the weed population.
Look at the chicken yard...

it's lined with enormous weeds.

There's a path through the middle just large enough for us to walk...
for feeding, watering and cleaning purposes.

At any given time, there will be at least 10 chickens relaxing in holes beneath these weeds.
The chickens dig holes in the dirt for their dirt baths.
So you see... this is, in essence, a chicken spa!!

One of our little red hens from this summer's batch of chicks is
head over spurs in love with Number 7.

She waits outside his pen each morning for the door to open and Number 7 to emerge.
Then she spends her day following him around... sometimes in the company of a few of her sisters.

He's quite handsome and does a beautiful morning dance to entice her...
not that she needs any encouragement!

One of these mornings I will film all of the drama that ensues when the door 
to the chicken house opens.
Number 7 comes running out...
pursued by big white "Fish".

Fish is definitely head honcho in this henhouse and wields that authority
un-mercilessly upon Number 7 every single morning.
The only silver lining is his little red hen who is waiting for him with a sparkle in her eye.

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The Barn Gets a Facelift....Me? I'm Stuck With What I've Got!

The barn is getting a facelift...
and I couldn't be more excited.

We have lived with our grey barn forever...
and I've never really been fond of the color (light grey).
But, that is changing... quickly.
If only the weather would cooperate.

The back side of the barn had developed a leaky window which needed to be replaced,
as well as the exterior siding.
We picked a dark shade of charcoal grey...
with the trim painted white, the barn should really stand out!

As soon as the sun returns, the rest of the barn will be painted as well.
Then Hubbs and I will get busy on the out buildings.
It's quite a big project and I will be so happy when it is complete!

While the fellows were working yesterday morning,
I spent a little time nearby in the garden pulling weeds.

I happened to glance up to see Sammy napping here:

See what I mean?
He is such a unique dog.
A nap is always a good time to showcase his handsome looks, right?
And what could be better than a Nasturtium pillow?

It's apple and pear harvest time.
This year's crop is bigger than ever and sweeter...
I guess the adequate rainfall has played a big part in this.

Did I say bigger?  Well, the pears are tiny... but oh, are they sweet!

We have an apple...

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Morning Colors

Come, let's take a walk through the early morning dew.
After days of clouds and rain, the sky has cleared and the sun is once again warm.

Nothing smells fresher than the earth after it's been washed by gentle rains.

We are so lucky, here in the country, to always have fresh air...
except of course when the neighboring farms spread their cow manure!

I am enjoying the last bits of summer's color.

In all too short a time these colors will disappear...

and the farm will take on the drab greys and browns of winter.

'Til then, however, I will take note of every blossom.

I will ponder the veins on the elephant ear leaves.

I will enjoy the symphonies of birdsong, of katydids and crickets.

Butterfly house in the butterfly garden.
Because... in the blink of an eye they will have faded away...
replaced by the silence and stillness of winter's slumber.

I want to memorize the depth of each color so that I can conjure it once again
to sustain me through that time of monochromatic rest.

I can tell the season is about to change.
The signs are all there.
The spiders are busy spinning their intricate webs...
weighted down by the morning dew.

The blackbirds are flocking together... 
soon we will see huge...

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Happy Labor Day!!

We spent most of the weekend socked in with rain...

the tiny dregs of the previous week's horrible hurricane had passed through our area.

Rain stopped long enough for chores to be done, but that was about it.

We were all able to get outside long enough to prevent cabin fever.

The rest of the time was spent indoors writing and cooking.

This past week's autumn-like weather had given me a chance to catch up on garden weeding...
a task made much easier by the intermittent rains.

I hauled a whole gator load of weeds and spent vegetable plants to the compost pile.
I harvested hot peppers for another batch of hot pepper relish

and the rest of our spindly tomatoes
(who were shriveling on the vine from lack of sunlight and too much rain)
which I popped into the oven to roast.

If you have never roasted your tomatoes, I highly encourage you to try it.
I slice them in half, sprinkle with sea salt, drizzle with olive oils
and bake in the oven at 400 degrees until they look like this...

At this point I either drop them all into a freezer bag and freeze for later use,
or make a pot of roasted tomato basil soup.

This is absolutely the best tomato soup ever (in my opinion),
and oh, so easy to make.

I chop one...

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Pets, Pests and Pestilence

It's three o'clock in the morning and I am deeply asleep...
involved in some sort of dream about drowning...
and yes, I was experiencing my own drowning... I know, don't even try to analyze that!

Luckily I was awakened by the sound of an animal trying to claw it's way through the French door 
in our bedroom.
I lifted my head and peered through heavy eyes... it was Sam.
"Lay down, Sam!" I said in my commanding voice...
I knew he didn't have to go potty... he never does.
(Sam is like a camel... he drinks once or twice a day and pees about that much as well...
usually not even bothering to leave the porch, but instead lifting his leg on any 
deck post that is nearby... yeah, he's a little unique.)

I closed my eyes once more and drifted back to sleep...
carefully avoiding the drowning dream.

[scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch]... this time with more force.

This time Jack was awake as well.
He turned on the lamp next to the bed to find Sam trying to get through the door.

Ok, maybe he did have to go potty.
By this time all three of the dogs were standing in front of the door.

The door was opened and Oakley ran out, followed by Annie,
but Sam would not budge.
Instantly, Annie ran back in...
and before...

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Barn Reveal

There has been a lot of activity around the barn this past week...
and these two are not impressed.

Just wait, girls, your shed is next!!

I spent a little time painting the greenhouse yesterday,

and Hubbs finished our outhouse.

I am pleased with how everything has turned out.

We dug a ditch beside the side wall that was replaced (due to some rotting),
and filled it with river rock, to keep the moist soil away from the barn siding.

The rest of this area will be landscaped next Spring.

When painting was finished for the day,
I sat in the donkey yard and visited with the girls.

As always, photos of the donkeys can be challenging...
they like to be right on top of me.

Somehow we manage.

I picked the rest of the compost pile tomatoes and roasted them.
I fill freezer bags with a pound each and freeze for use this winter.

Sweet peppers were harvested.
I'll freeze most of them.

More hot peppers were picked...and there are still more to come!
Finally the ghost peppers, and the Carolina Reapers are ripe as well as the Habaneros...
(see small orange Habaneros and large reddish orange ghost pepper in the center of the colander)

This batch of hot pepper relish will be for serious pepper lovers, only!

The garden...

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Day Trippin'

Cool, autumn-like weather has settled upon the farm.
I'm sure it won't last forever... but I'm loving every moment of it!
Of course, the animals are happiest when it is cool as well.

We are in the midst of a hydrangea explosion!

I just love this flower.
It is great for cutting and bringing into the house...
and it dries perfectly

...lasting until next summer's blossoms are ready to cut.

I love how each year these bushes get fuller and fuller!

My favorites...

Hubbs and I took a day away from the farm yesterday to celebrate our wedding anniversary.
We hopped a train to NYC and saw Bette Midler in Hello Dolly at the Schubert Theatre.

She was amazing... and at 72 years of age...it's hard to believe!!

She put on such a great show...
and the audience was electrified.
It's definitely a once-in-a-lifetime show!

In case her co-star looks familiar to you...
he's David Hyde Pierce (Dr. Niles Crane from the television show Frasier)

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Making Memories

Tyler spent the last two days at the farm with us.
This may have been his best time yet... at the farm.

Steering the gator.
He will be going into second grade next week...
and this week he seemed like a much more grown up boy.

He conquered his fear of the chickens and roosters.
(For about the past year he has waited tentatively inside the safety of the gator
whenever we went to the chicken houses.)

This week, however, opened the chicken houses in the morning,
collected the eggs in the afternoon,
and closed the houses back up in the evening.
He even ventured into their yard by himself to drop of a snack of cantaloupe.

He walked Red from the upper pasture back to the barn by himself...

Moonbeam continues to walk himself home each morning...
taking a more and more circuitous route as time passes.

Tyler learned to feed the ducks, fill the watering troughs,
and remove the horses' fly masks...

He happily helped out with all of the barn chores chores and pasture cleaning.

I love teaching him these kinds of responsibilities.
Overcoming fears does so much to boost one's self esteem!

My hope for my grandchildren is that I can help teach them that they are 
capable of anything!
The farm is a great way to...

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Solar Eclipse 2017

Did you see the eclipse?
Were you in the path of totality?
If you were, tell me about it!!

We, of course, were not.
I would have loved to have joined in the astronomical fun, but it would have required
a very long drive....many states away.

Here on the farm the light faded a little bit.
At the same time as the eclipse, a few clouds moved into the sky...
but the sun definitely dimmed a bit.

I received a lot of questions about how the animals reacted.

They were completely unaffected...

and went about life as usual.

Interestingly, though, both of our chrysalis(s) opened and butterflies emerged.
I missed them both.
This was all I found...

Tyler spent the day with us.

Check out this tiny nest in his hands...

We find these horse hair nests on the ground after storms.
They blow out of the big old pine tree by the barn.
They are so very tiny...too big for a hummingbird, but too small for much of anything else.
Perhaps a sparrow?

I am always fascinated by the patterns made by fungus.
I found this one on one of the tree stumps near the barn.

Isn't nature fascinating??

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Special Delivery

Friday morning found me driving into our little town to pick up a special order...

Home I sped with my box of cheeping chicks...
25 guinea babies... just hatched!
I quickly moved them into the brooder house and introduced them to their fresh feed and water. 

While they are tiny they will have a heat lamp for warmth.
(our nights have been cold most all of this summer)

With only two guinea fowl remaining, 
we decided that this would be the summer for starting a new batch.

Yes, Guinea U. has a new class...they will be the graduating class of 2018.

Eventually, this flock will move into what is now the turkey house (close to the barn).
At that point, the turkeys will move into one of the emptier chicken yards,
and the chickens will all be combined in one yard with two houses.
Tom, Fred and Ethel are going to be a little confused for a while when that happens.

There has been a bit of excitement in the butterfly garden.
Our first (found) chrysalis is just about ready to open.
It has changed from green to black, and the orange markings of the Monarch wings are 
now visible.

While cleaning our front downstairs porch, 
I happened to find another chrysalis hanging from the porch furniture.

What an adventure...

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I have noticed lately that the Muscovy ducks,
apparently quite comfortable with their new home, 
have begun venturing out on morning sojourns.

It's not unusual to see them in the front pasture searching for tasty insects.

Yesterday morning, they marched past the donkeys,
who were out in the front pasture enjoying their cool morning grazing time...

and continued on to the barn...
about a football field's length away from the pond.

While at the barn, they stopped for a visit with the Nellies...
who were, of course, quite nervous at the appearance of these strangers.

The Nellies would peek out of the barn aisle, 

and then go running back into their stall for safety.

They repeated this behavior several times until comfortable with the Muscovies' presence.

The Nellies, themselves, always take their own morning sojourn.
They have gotten quite bold of late and venture all over the barnyard.

The curious interchange between the two duck groups 
went on for about a half hour,
as I watched from the cover of the garden.

I had been there enjoying the wealth of morning glories

who have climbed on just about every vertical surface available.

The garden is looking quite magical surrounded by its vine-covered...

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Hello Again!

Oh how I would love to share my internet woes with you...
but I vowed to keep this blog free from complaining. 
So... I will just share the fact that I have no internet (still)
and that this blog is coming to you via my neighbor's internet...
which is no small feat since I have to carry my whole computer over to their house.

But, I have missed you this week...
so here I am.

We've had a spell of wonderfully (unseasonable) cool weather this month.
Cool....with lots of rain!

(last weekend's rain)
The garden is quite happy.

On a drier day, I trimmed pig hooves...
something that has to be done every few months.

I try to do this task when Amanda is home for a visit
(which she was for the past 10 days).
Hoof trimming is quite easy to do once a pig is on it's side for a belly rub.

Amanda rubs... I trim.

Using a foal sized hoof trimmer I cut away excess growth of hoof...
making sure not to get to close to the quick.

MaryAnn and Ginger are quite trusting...
and as long as they are occupied with a belly rub, they cooperate.

Annie has been happy to have Amanda home...

offering each day to be her running partner.

The two of them head out into the countryside, running the trails through the woods.
About a half hour...

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Puppy Love

Once again we have been plunged into the internet-free zone.
I am writing this at our neighbor's house...
our internet "should" be fixed on Wednesday...
til then... email and blogging at the mercy at neighbors!

I am happy to tell you that Faith and Hope seem to have adjusted to the 
absence of their Mama.
Their crying has stopped.
They are still sticking pretty close to the pigs, however.

Saturday was Mackenzie's second birthday.

Where has the time gone??

Her little brother, Easton, is growing like a weed...
at one month he was the size our little pink fairy was at three months.
Looks like he's going to be a big boy, like his Daddy!

Tyler is such a good cousin to these two.

After Mackenzie's party Tyler came back to the farm for the weekend...
with his new PUPPY!!!

Meet Chester.

Oh. My. Goodness!!!
I am suffering from a huge case of puppy love.

It looks like this little fellow is eventually going to be a good farm dog.

He has already learned to be respectful to the birds...
giving the turkeys wide berth.

He did have a thing or two to tell Ginger and MaryAnn, however.

These pigs always take everything in their stride...
and weren't a bit upset by the scolding that Chester gave them.

It's going to be fun...

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A Meeting Of The Birdbrains

It's early morning and I've called a meeting of the Bird Brains.
We needed to talk about future plans.
With new guineas growing up, we needed to discuss housing arrangements for the future.

The Muscovies were "on the fence" about it...

I told them they didn't have a leg to stand on.

The Nellies wanted to table the discussion...

The chickens were too busy eating to talk,
and gave me the fluffy butt salute.

The only audience I could get was with the turkeys.

We discussed the fact that they would need to be making a move in the near future.
Their present home in the coop behind the barn will become the new home
for the guinea babes.

All of our past flocks of guineas have attended Birdbrain U. in an attempt to teach
them the survival skills needed for life on the farm.
This flock will be test subjects for a new learning model...
which hopefully will prepare these new students for a long, productive future on the farm.

I stopped to talk to Tom since he is the oldest and wisest.

I assured him that he would get used to life in his new house up by the chicken coops.
He wasn't sure how all of this would work.
After all, (he made his case)... he considers his help each morning at the barn
to be...

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You Asked!

I love your comments...
and savor each one!
I often receive questions that I don't answer in the comment section...
I assume that no one has the time to go back and check for answers...
and so, I try to answer questions within my blog posts.

Today is a day for tying up loose ends...
You asked!

How do we keep our fence rows so neat?

This is a constant challenge.
Weed-whacking seems to be the only way to keep on top of this...

and so, every couple of weeks, Hubbs whacks his way around each pasture.
I wish there were a better way!!

What types of hydrangeas do we have?

This particular bush is Limelight hydrangeas...
as for drying them... I bring them in the house and place them in a vase of water.
I never refill the water, but eventually it dries...and with time, so does the blossom.
Dried, they are rather fragile and can shed a bit if bumped...
so it's best to keep them in a quiet corner, out of traffic!

This bush had some discussion in yesterday's comments.
It is a Hydrangea Paniculata, Pinky Winky.

Yesterday's picture did not do it justice. 
The blossoms actually turn pink at the bottom after a while....

What happened to the rest of our guineas?

The last batch of guineas that we raised were hatched in...

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I Live For The 99

Ninety-nine percent of the time life on the farm is idyllic.

The animals are happy, peaceful, healthy...
and life hums along in its rhythmic ebb and flow.

But then there is that one percent...
when injury or illness befalls us...
making the day hard...
chores are done with the yolk of a heavy weight around our necks.

Yesterday morning I stopped by the sheep yard as I do each morning
to open the gates for the sheep to head into the front pasture.
I opened the gates and headed to the barn.
Moments later I heard such of ruckus of "Baaaaa-ing" that I thought
it prudent to go check on the girls.

I found only Gracie in the sheep yard under the trees.
Her daughters had headed out to the front pasture but were calling
and calling for Grace to join them.

I called Grace...
but she did not look at me.
Normally she comes to me when I call.
This time it was quite different.
She was leaning between two tree trunks...
and hardly noticed my presence.
Her mid section looked a little bloated.

I called our local farm vet and they suggested that I give her some mineral oil
just in case she had the "bloat" from some obstruction...
they also said that a vet would be out to see Grace that morning.

I gave her the mineral oil...

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Calendars Are Important!

Yesterday taught me that I really have to check my calendar each morning
when I awaken!
I bounded out of bed early yesterday ready to get started on a long chore list.

The previous day's rain put us a day behind, and we had catching-up to do.

Morning chores were completed.

Everyone went out to graze in the pasture...

and I headed home to hop in the shower.
As I was getting dressed, the dogs started barking as if someone was at the door.
I looked at my watch and for some reason suddenly remembered that we had 
a farrier appointment at 8 AM... in just ten minutes.
Perhaps the farrier had come early and was at the door.
I checked outside... no one was in the driveway.
Perhaps he had gone.

I combed my wet hair, hopped in the gator and headed out to the barn.
Jack was busy cooking breakfast for us... and I yelled as I flew out the door,
"I forgot I have a farrier appointment today!"
(there may have been a couple expletives said along with this statement...
as I hate forgetting appointments!)

I arrived at the barn and found... no farrier.
The big problem was, however, 
all of the horses and donkeys were out in the pastures grazing.
Catching them to bring them in this early would be difficult.
After all,...

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Bad Hair Days

Yesterday was a "bad hair" sort of day for everyone here on the farm.

Clouds, cool temperatures and steady rain kept some indoors all day.

Some sought shelter in the gator.

The more adventurous braved the precipitation and went about 
their days as usual.

After all, if they don't venture out to eat...
they might go hungry.

There are always rewards for coming outside.

Room service was not an option.
Plenty of grass is available to those with coats that are impervious to rain!

And then there are the chickens...

who have plenty of food inside,
but who prefer to be outside running around in the rain.

It has been the rainiest summer ever here on the farm.
It's great not having to water.
Now we just need a little sunshine to ripen the rest of the (hundreds of) tomatoes.
I will roast and freeze many of them for later use.

I am happy to say that we now have a temporary phone line on the ground
between the pole in the front pasture and the house.
Hopefully it will be buried underground soon.
Now we can upgrade our service to a faster internet speed.
I am so happy!

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We've Got A Lot Of Catching-Up To Do!

We're back!!!
It had been several years since my last trip to the ocean,
and I had almost forgotten how I love the shore.

There is just something about the rhythmic pounding of the waves,
and the call of the gull that soothes the soul.

I spent four days in the company of lovely women and just allowed my 
mind and soul to be quiet (when we weren't having a crazy good time!)
And while we are on the subject of crazy....
check out this horseshoe crab that washed up on the shore...

How about all those hitch-hiking shell-fish on it's torso!!
That's a crab with a whole lot of "bling!"

The wonderful thing about vacations is...
no matter how much fun they are...
it is always so good to return home to all that I love.

 this photo... credit to my neighbor Scott!
And it's a good thing I am here, because the garden is practically bursting at the seams!
Here is yesterday's tomato haul...

as well as peppers, cukes, and eggplants.
Blackberries are ripening and are oh, so sweet and juicy...
thanks to an abundance of rain.

We started harvesting our leeks yesterday...

cleaned and sliced them....

and made a leek and mushroom tart.

Remember the vines growing on the manure pile?
One pile is covered in tomatoes, and...

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Summer Fun

Look who's been hiding out deep in the recesses of the
Echinacea flower box next to the greenhouse.

Apparently this young lady has decided that she likes

nesting amidst beautiful blossoms.

It's obvious that this is not her first or second time!

It would be fun to let her hatch out a brood...
but, oh my, what would we do with a whole flock of turkeys?
So... I think we will remove these eggs from time to time.
Sorry, Ethel!

We had special farm visitors on Friday... the whole way from Delaware!

Donna, Katelyn, and Sandy drove four hours to see the farm and to meet the critters!
The critters were quite happy as their visitors brought Ritz crackers with them.
We had a lovely visit (after establishing that neither they nor I were axe murderers!)
It is kind of funny to think that we made these plans never having set eyes on each other before.
It just goes to show you... we have soul "mates" all over the world... and it's nice to take a chance
and meet some once in a while!
Thanks for the visit, girls....and Ginger and MaryAnn thank you for the Ritz!!

On the subject of snacks...
Ginger and MaryAnn make it their business to inspect the sheep yard every morning

looking for apples or pears that have dropped...

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Turning Our Faces To The Sun

we are humbled by your outpouring of love and support over the loss of Gracie.
It is so true...
when we love and care for an animal it is with the knowledge that someday
we will have to let them go... to say goodbye.
What keeps us going is a little Hope...

A little Faith...

and a whole lot of love!

After every dark and stormy time,
 the sun comes out again and reminds us of all that is good in life.

So, we turn our faces to the sun and allow it to fill our souls with warmth.
And we put one foot in front of the other and march on.

There is much work to be done in this life...
and with it comes sadness that is unavoidable.
But the happiness is ours to grab and to multiply and to share.
It is up to us to make the happy far outweigh the sad!

And so, the sun rose yesterday.
We buried our precious Grace.
And we carried on... caring for all of the wonderful souls that still fill our world.

Hope and Faith are missing their Mama,
and spend a lot of their time calling for her.

It is sad, but with time, they will recover.
MaryAnn and Ginger seem to understand that something is wrong,

so they are staying very close to the twins.
The pigs have a whole lot of love to give!

I finished planting my new...

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Three and a Big Surprise

Lily loves our mail lady.
Probably because every time she comes up the hill, she has a package for Lily.

This time it was from one of my dearest friends in another state.....

There were two sweet cards inside~ one for Lily, and another one for... Lily's Birthday!!

Yes, you heard me~ its all yours.

The box was pre-inspected.

Each gift and the adorable wrapping paper were also pre-inspected. *Sigh*

Apparently this one met approval even before it was unwrapped. :)



Treats!!! *YUMMY*

I told her to smile for the camera, Angie~ this is what I got. 

And that smile says "Thank you."  

So, how did she spend her 3rd Birthday?

Uh, lets just say it was.... uneventful.  ;)

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Friday Farm Fotos: Bad Girl

It was getting dark and someone was missing; one large red hen with a pair of big yellow feet and an attitude to match. I looked up and down and in every nook and cranny with my flashlight there was no sign of her. The only clue was a red tail feather I found in the grass near the barn, and that is never a good sign. Most of the time if there has been a predator attack there is more than one feather on the ground, so that made me think she could still be out there somewhere, but as darkness fell and my batteries started getting weak, hope of finding her alive faded with my flashlight. 

I was sad.... I never like to lose any of my birds.....

Morning came. It was unusually foggy.... I didn't think it would ever get daylight. I had just poured a cup of coffee and was staring out the kitchen window, when....

I saw her.

Meandering across the back yard, looking over her shoulder as if she was hoping nobody would see her sneaking back to the chicken coop before dawn. My heart was happy!
But then, I chuckled...
At the thought that her hiney was safe but her reputation was ruined.... :)

Happy Friday!

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